Not many predicted the 76ers to make it this far, but after the Chicago Bulls lost Derrick Rose, Philadelphia's chances increased. Now the 76ers have a much greater challenge ahead of them, as competing against the Celtics will be no easy task.
Boston is highly motivated to prove its critics wrong. Some doubt them because they're an older bunch, but it's easy to see they're still playing hard.
With that said, let's take a look at some specifics in this semifinal showdown.
Game 1: Sat, May 12 at 8 p.m. ET on TNT in Boston
Game 2: Mon, May 14 at 7 p.m. ET on TNT in Boston
Games 3-7: TBD
Live Steam: NBA League Pass
Odds: Game 1, Boston favored at -5.5, according to vegasinsider.com
*According to CBS Sports
No new injuries to report
What They're Saying
After Andre Iguodala hit two free throws to help the 76ers eliminate the Bulls in Game 6, he did a postgame interview with NBA TV's Cheryl Miller.
She asked him what was going through his mind while he took the shots, and he answered (via Yahoo! Sports) with:
On the free throws, Tony Battie gave me some advice. He said, 'Think of something that you love when you're shooting free throws,' because I've been struggling all year. I thought of my son, and it was easy after that.
Philadelphia fans will hope he continues to think of his son throughout the series with Boston because the 76ers will need Iguodala to be clutch again.
Jessica Camerato covers the Celtics for CSNNE.com, and she Kevin Garnett" href="http://www.sulia.com/channel/boston-celtics/f/ba827625-8af2-4efe-9352-7bcc52602d18/?source=twitter" target="_blank">tweeted what Kevin Garnett had to say to those folks who think he's too old.
You guys calling me old, that number just fuels the fire. You all have no idea what you are doing when you do that. So I appreciate you all. Whoever’s writing the ‘old’ comments and all that, keep doing that. I appreciate that. I don’t read your columns but it gets back to me. Alright?
Garnett will turn 36 on May 19, and there is doubt he is still a force to be reckoned with in the NBA. He's on a mission now, which doesn't bode well for the 76ers.
Philadelphia Player to Watch
As great as Jrue Holiday was for the 76ers in the first round, the second round series with Boston is all about Iguodala.
He's the leader of the team and he's going to have to step up in a major way if the 76ers want to pull off the upset. Iguodala averaged 12 points and 5.8 rebounds against the Bulls, but when Philadelphia battles Boston, the talented forward has to put up even better numbers.
In addition to Iguodala needing to thrive on offense, he'll also have to shut down Paul Pierce, which won't be an easy task.
Boston Player to Watch
The Celtics have several talented star players that have to perform well, but the most important player in this series is Rajon Rondo. Holiday thrived without Derrick Rose guarding him, so Rondo has to step in and shut the 76ers leading postseason scorer down.
He's a vital player to Boston's success, and the Celtics will need him to continue performing at a high level, and for him to keep his cool with the refs.
Against the Atlanta Hawks, in only five games mind you, Rondo averaged 16.8 points, 11.8 assists and 5.6 rebounds per game.
Rondo is an outstanding well rounded player who has to keep dominating for Boston if the Celtics are going to reach the finals.
There should be a few intense games during this series, as both teams match up well against each other. Some will come down to the wire, but other games will be a big win for a certain team.
I have the Celtics winning in five games, although some of those victories will be very close calls. They're the better team with more experience stars, and that will be the difference maker.